Here & Now!

Emmanuel Bex

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Here & Now! Review

by Steve Loewy

This collaborative effort among organist Emmanuel Bex, trombonist Glenn Ferris, and percussionist Simon Goubert is extraordinary for its big sound, even more so when you consider that often the sole horn is playing at diminished volume. Highly accessible yet uncompromising aesthetically, the nine tracks are filled with surprises, whether dramatically changing intensity, alternating rhythms, or technical acrobatics. All the tracks are originals except the forward-thrusting interpretation of Grachan Moncur III's classic "The Coaster," taken as a straight-ahead hard bop number, and the spiritual, "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," which opens dramatically with bouncing trombone punches that suddenly shift gears. As a whole, this album's got it all, from funky organ to a rip-roaring trombone that will knock off your socks. Ferris has rarely played as well as he does here, and American listeners who have not kept up with his soloing since his days decades ago with Don Ellis will be impressed: Ferris has developed into a world-class trombonist, and he is at the top of his game here, as good as any jazz trombonist anywhere, with a distinctive, even thrilling style that incorporates elements of Roswell Rudd, Bob Brookmeyer, and Jimmy Cleveland in a stew that retains its own individuality. The trombonist purrs, growls, and resonates with an uncommon fervor, usually at a volume that barely exceeds a whisper. When he explodes, as he does, for example, on "Purge," you know he means business. Simon Goubert is the stealth contributor, his drums laying down the groove, while Bex and Ferris stay out front, in what can only be described as pure ecstasy.

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